A project to raise the awareness among local construction businesses of the ease and similarities of working on either side of the border will begin in Yarrawonga next week.
Inspectors from the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) and WorkCover NSW will team up to visit construction sites in Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Cobram and Barooga from 26-30 August.
VWA Regional Director, Shane Gillard, said the upcoming visit to the Yarrawonga region followed a similar – and successful – project in Albury and Wodonga in June.
“Many businesses are based in one state, but undertake work in the other, hence the reason for the joint agency approach to address any confusion they have around the differences between Victorian and NSW safety laws,” he said.
“Inspectors from both organisations will be visiting commercial, domestic and civil construction sites throughout the Yarrawonga region next week and we are looking forward to answering any questions these businesses may have.”
Mr Gillard said that the project also aimed to reduce injuries and deaths from unsafe work practices across border areas.
“We will talk to builders and sub-contractors about recognising, managing and controlling construction hazards and risks on both sides of the border, using Safe Work Method Statements and supplying a simple inspection checklist to make things easier,’’ he said. “The checklist will also be used by inspectors to ensure that there is a consistent approach to health and safety across the region.”
General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson said regardless of which state builders worked in, the risks and controls on construction sites were consistent, as were the control measures that should be in place.
“There is a perception among some businesses that they must comply with a completely different set of safety requirements when they work across the border,” he said.
“This projects aims to address those misperceptions and help construction businesses understand that the requirements for a safe worksite in NSW are same as those in Victoria.”
In the five years to 2012-13, there were 34 construction worker injury claims in Victoria’s Moira Shire region, at a cost of more than $900,000.
In the three years to 2010-11, there were 1209 injuries and illnesses in the NSW construction industry, including three fatalities in south west NSW at a cost of $14.3 million to the NSW workers compensation system.
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.